PENAMPANG: For most food-loving Malaysians, the feeling they get when faced with a delicious scoop of ice-cream is excitement.
That quickly turns into pure joy once the flavors set in – the sweet, familiar taste of cold strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla against hot and humid weather.
Here in the winding city streets of Kota Kinabalu, however, three young entrepreneurs are trying to take those feelings to the next level by introducing completely different ice-cream flavours and combinations.
“Our flavours include smoked beef, asam laksa, and salted egg yolk… those are some of the more savoury ones we offer,” said Yapp Khin Enn, 28, right off the bat during an interview here at the NSTP office.
Khin, along with her brother Yapp Shin Enn, 32, and close friend Jude Limus, 31, are the founders of up-and-coming ice-cream company Pops and Pints, which was launched only last year in August.
“The idea (for the unique flavors) came about when I was studying in Australia. There were so many things I wanted to eat but it was too expensive to eat out, so I started experimenting and making my own food.
“Then when I got back to Malaysia, the weather was so hot that I couldn’t stand it, so I tried turning all those ideas into cold food,” she explained.
“We’ve always wanted to do something food-related, and after some research and development (R&D), we were finally comfortable with the idea of doing this,” added her brother Shin, pointing out that the three of them are food lovers to begin with so the transition from passion to business was a natural one.
R&D was particularly important since Pops and Pints offers a variety of ice-cream – ranging from the sweet M.O.B. Mango (pureed mangoes and raspberries blended with coconut milk), to the chunky Smokehouse (smoked beef briskets infused with French ice cream) and eyebrow-raising Wasabae (wasabi), among others.
Part of the fun, said Shin, was in seeing the reactions of their customers.
“Some are skeptical, some are more adventurous. Others try it on the spot then say it’s not for them, others love it, etc. Generally, the response has been positive, but looking at how their expressions change is always interesting!”
The trio work and produce the ice-cream from home, before delivering the products to various cafes throughout the city or events such as weddings and parties.
With no other employees, each of them has to do their part to keep the business chugging along – Khin does most of the cooking/ice-cream making, Shin is in charge of sales and marketing, and Jude helps out on both aspects.
The company is more a labour of passion and love than a full-time investment at the moment, with all three still working other jobs in addition to Pops and Pints.
Jude is a music teacher, Khin part-times as a pastry chef and Shin is a designer and producer at his own studio.
Elaborating on their venture, Shin said there are plans to expand.
"Right now, we are focusing on promoting our products at the Jesselton Artisan Market and social media. We don’t have our own shop yet, but we hope to open one up soon,” Shin said enthusiastically.
When asked about their plans on new ice-cream offerings, Shin and Khin only showed a mischievous glint in their eyes. Malaysians will have to wait and see what other funky flavours are in store for them.
Pops and Pints’ ice-cream are currently being sold in KK at Joe Sun, Ampersand Specialty Coffee & Co-workplace, and Crack Inc, but they also take orders.
For more information, visit their Instagram and Facebook pages at 'popsandpintsofficial'.